Collapsed Yorkshire academy chain WCAT to be wound up after final school transferred

Wakefield City Academies Trust will now be wound up.
Wakefield City Academies Trust will now be wound up.

A troubled Yorkshire academy chain, which made a shock announcement that it would offload its schools more than a year ago, will at last be wound up after its final academy was transferred to another education trust.

Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) said the remaining school – Mexborough Academy in Doncaster – was formally moved to its new sponsor Delta Academies Trust on schedule on November 1.

It became the 21st school to be rebrokered from WCAT since last September, when its board announced, days into the new school term, that the trust did not have “the capacity to facilitate the rapid improvement our academies need and our students deserve”.

A spokesperson for WCAT, which ran seven secondary and 14 primary schools across West, South and East Yorkshire said: “We are pleased that the final transfer has been completed.

“The board is working with the Department for Education (DfE) to oversee an orderly and solvent winding up procedure in the current financial year.

“This will include the publication of the trust’s 2017/2018 accounts, which are expected to show a surplus position.”

Asked what would happen to a surplus, a spokeswoman for the DfE said it was not a position to comment at the moment, without the publication of the final accounts.

In a letter to the chair of the Education Committee in February, Lord Agnew, a Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the DfE, said: “Trusts are not able to retain any surplus at the point of dissolution. If a trust does wind-up in a surplus position, the department will work with the incoming trusts to agree a fair and equitable way of redistributing the funding.”

Claims have previously been made that schools' cash had been channelled into the trust .

But an audit of the trust’s accounts found no evidence of financial wrongdoing and Nadhim Zahawi, also a Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the DfE, has said the department looked at allegations of assets being moved “inappropriately” from WCAT schools and found “no evidence of this”.